Swedish broadband slips behind

Sweden, which once boasted one of the highest rate of broadband uptake in Europe, has now fallen behind most other countries in northern Europe in terms of the proportion of households subscribing to fast Internet services.

Some 43 percent of Swedish households subscribe to broadband, compared to 58 percent of households in the Netherlands, the survey from international analysts Strategy Analytics shows.

Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Belgium also have higher levels of broadband penetration than Sweden.

Sweden has failed to capitalize on an early lead in fast Internet connections. A survey from NetValue 2001 was one of many to name Sweden as the country with the highest broadband penetration in Europe.

Martin Olausson, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said competitive markets were the key.

“Most of the leading countries have been moving quickly because of more competition. This is true of the Netherlands, which has also benefited from the fact that 90 percent of households have cable television. In Sweden, only 50 percent of households do.”

Sweden’s geography has also made it harder to provide broadband to large portions of the population.

“Other countries are smaller, so it’s easier to build out broadband.”

But Sweden could start moving up the rankings again soon.

“Going forward, we think Sweden will be one of the winners, because Swedes have shown that they are willing to take up technology,” Olausson said.

“Telenor’s acquisition of Bredbandsbolaget, Glocalnet and Vodafone Sweden means that we have two big, powerful incumbents in Sweden – Telia and Telenor.”

“Competition between these two, plus Com Hem, will help push broadband penetration forward.”